If you plan to study at a university in another country, the language of instruction will almost certainly be the language of the country or region where the university is located. In the Netherlands and Scandinavia, some graduate courses are taught in English and the language is also useful for a lot of the background reading in most subjects. But if you want a successful, enjoyable course in a university abroad, you’ll have to learn the local language. Fortunately, there are many language-learning options available.
You should plan your language learning in a way that suits you and your daily routine. That way, you’ll do better. For example, consider how much time you have to spare. Can you organise a regular study time? What sorts of equipment do you have available? Do you have a cassette recorder, computer or video? Where can you access learning materials: libraries, bookshops, newsstands with foreign papers, websites, even satellite television?
Consider how and where do you want to learn:
· quickly and intensively or over a longer period?
· in a group or on your own?
· by self-study, distance learning or with a teacher?
· at work or at home?
· in your home country or abroad?
Assess which methods and materials would suit you:
· conversation lessons with a native speaker
· listening to tapes while travelling
· using a textbook for grammar exercises
· reading newspapers and magazines
· using the Internet or CD-ROMs
· watching videos.
Approaches to learning
If you plan to learn a language in your home country, you may enjoy learning in a group. Classes near home or work suit many people, and with a good teacher, there will be plenty of opportunities to practise the language. It might help to find partners to study with outside class. Intensive and specialised courses are often available too.
Self-study courses or radio and TV programmes give you the option of a flexible timetable, but you are on your own and need to motivate yourself. Virtual language learning is also a growth area, with more opportunities for using the Internet than ever before.
A language course abroad, on the other hand, is usually intensive, so you can learn a lot in a short time. You’re surrounded by the language and culture, and you also get to make contact with local people and experience their way of life.
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